Together we can create an inclusive and accepting world by simply taking some time to learn and understand more about the people who make up our diverse community!

The best life possible for everyone

Let’s come together to show how important it is to accept, support and celebrate the strengths and achievements of each and every person in our community and what makes them unique.

Five individuals and their families have shared their stories on what Autism means to them and how they are living their best life.

An inclusive and accepting world can be achieved by simply taking some time to learn and understand more about the people who make up a diverse community. Below you can find handy links and resources to learn more about Autism.

Know them. Support them. Empower them. Let’s ignite change together!

About Autism

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that impacts how a person experiences the world around them. Autism affects how the individual thinks, feels, experiences their environment, interacts and communicates with others.

This means that people with Autism experience differences in the way they communicate and interact socially, and their behaviour may be repetitive or highly focused. People with Autism also tend to experience differences with their senses that can affect the way they feel about and respond to their surroundings.

Every individual with Autism is different. Autism is also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ‘Spectrum’ refers to the wide range of characteristics, skills and abilities that different people with Autism have. Every person experiences Autism differently and has different support needs. Although the core characteristics of Autism can cause a range of challenges, individuals with Autism also have unique strengths, skills and capabilities.

While Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex lifelong developmental disability, with appropriate and tailored support, children and adults with Autism can live their best life possible. Consequently, it is imperative that people with Autism have access to specialist services that understand their needs and are experienced in developing their skills and strengths.

About Autism – Mickey_Football

Understanding Autism starts here!

There are some commonly held beliefs about Autism which we know to be untrue. These misconceptions arise from lack of understanding and can create challenges for individuals.

Click here to find out more.

Autism is most often diagnosed in early childhood. For some people however, the signs may not be as clear, and it might not be until later in life that the question of Autism even comes up. Learn about the signs of Autism and the key differences experienced for individuals with Autism.

Click here to know more of the common signs of Autism including those for young children, adults, and girls.

When diagnosing Autism, the term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is used by allied health professionals and are also referred to for funding and diagnostic purposes. ‘Spectrum’ refers to the wide range of characteristics, skills and abilities that different people with Autism have.

We are aware that some people like to be referred to as an Autistic person, while others preferred the person-first approach i.e. person with Autism. In recognition of the different perspectives, earlier this year, we conducted a survey to find out how the people we support would like to be referred to when referencing Autism. The results of the survey are listed below:


  • 73% of respondents were parents, family members or carers
  • 27% of respondents were Autistic individuals/ individuals with Autism

Preferred terminology

  • 63% preferred person with Autism or did not have a preference
  • 30% preferred Autistic
  • 7% responded other

Following the results, we will use both person-first language and identity-first language to recognise the different preferences that exist. When speaking to individuals, we recommend asking which language they would prefer you to use and adjusting accordingly.

Behaviour is a form of communication that can convey an important message. Behaviour is all about how we act or behave in a situation or under particular conditions. So, to understand behaviour we need to look beyond what we merely see on the surface. It’s important to remember that the individual may be experiencing difficulties that you are not aware of. difficulties related to Autism characteristics can contribute to challenging behaviour, but challenging behaviour in and of itself is not a core feature of Autism and is not synonymous with Autism.

A person with Autism may behave in their own way that may be interpreted as unexpected or unusual.

Click here to learn how you can understand Autism behaviours.

There is no one size fits all strategy to supporting a person with Autism. Like you and me, we are different and learn differently. Because everyone is different, a strategy that works for one person may not necessarily work in the same way for another.

Below are just a few key strategies and some examples on how you can empower them to live the best live possible:

Supporting Communication:

    • Use simple, short sentences to make your language easier to understand.
    • Speak in a normal tone of voice with slightly lower speed and plenty of pauses.
    • Use words the person is familiar with.
    • Stay calm (Remember! Stress and frustration can affect communication)

Supporting Participation and Inclusion:

    • Welcome the person and make them feel that they are a valued part of the group or activity.
    • Follow the person’s lead – What do they like doing? What do they like talking about?
    • Be patient – take the time to get to know the person and given them time to get to know you.
    • Celebrate strengths. Recognising and harnessing a person’s strengths can help them to achieve their full potential.

Adapting the environment:

    • Support transitions and prepare for changes (refer to a schedule; use a countdown timer; a transition object)
    • Provide a safe place where the person can take a break or calm down if they need to and show them how to use it.
    • Consider the person’s sensory sensitivities and preferences such as Lighting , Noise and Smells.

Encouraging Positive Behaviour:

    • Use a Positive Behaviour Support Approach. 
    • Provide opportunities for the person to express themselves.
    • Respect the person’s personal space
    • Provide the person with choice and control

Tips for Teachers:

    • Teach understanding and acceptance – Click here to view our Autism Heroes Resource Pack. 
    • Get to know your student with Autism
    • Modify the environment or instruction (tasks, assignments etc.)
    • Establish clear expectations
    • Act against bullying

Click here to find out some of the know the types of strategies that can support individuals with Autism and the evidence-based supports we at the Autism Association use.

We run regular workshops and seminars, based on up-to-date and peer-reviewed research for families, carers and professionals. Visit our training page to learn more. We also have a wide range of events at community spaces and venues to welcome individuals with Autism and their families.

Click here to find out the next upcoming event and training sessions.

Below are some resources that would provide you with more specific information on Autism.

    • Health and Dental Autism Training – Alongside a number of dentists and health professionals throughout Perth, we have developed a new training program for the health and dental sectors to provide you with knowledge and resources to improve access and health care experiences of people with Autism. Click here to find out more. 
    • Indigenous Families – We have created resources to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Click here to find out more. 
    • Safety For Children And Young People – The Safer WA for Children and Young People online resource has been developed as part of the Western Australian Government’s implementation of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Click here to find out more. 
    • For New Diagnosis – Understand about Autism Spectrum disorder and learn more about potential funding support options for families. Click here to find out more. 
    • For Teachers and Educators – Find resources that have been created to support teachers and educators working with students with Autism in the classroom. Click here to view them. 

    Click here to view the resources available.

The Autism Association is one of Australia’s largest Autism specific service providers, and the only specialist organisation providing a full range of services for children and adults in Australia.

Our focus is on excellence in providing services to people with Autism and their families. We are deeply committed to enhancing the quality of life of every individual with Autism and passionate about supporting them to live their best life possible.

Established in 1967, our focus is on excellence in providing services to people with Autism and their families. Services are person-centred and based on leading international peer-reviewed research in the field of Autism.

Click here to find out more about how the Autism Association supports individuals with Autism and their families.

Simon taking a photo
Emma is walking and being supported by a speech pathologist.

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This logo reads Government of Western Australia, Department of CommunitiesThis project is an NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) initiative.

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